We can all agree that quote rings true for everyone, but for many of us with disposable incomes it raises a problem – which charity should I donate to?
It’s easy to choose a charity based on our own biases, our likes and dislikes, our religious or political beliefs. The fact stands that some problems are much bigger, more neglected, and easier to solve. Effective altruism focuses on these types of problems, and in that way, far more progress is achieved, and it does so through a well-researched and scientific approach.
Researchers in effective altruism have found the following framework to be useful. Working on a cause is likely to be highly impactful to the extent that the cause is:
Great in scale
It affects many lives, by a great amount.
- The question is: if we solved this problem, how much would the world become a better place?
Few other people are working on addressing the problem.
- We must ask: How many people, or dollars, are currently being dedicated to solving the problem?
Highly solvable or tractable
Additional resources will do a great deal to address it.
- Level of solvability can be defined by asking: If we doubled direct effort on this problem, what fraction of the remaining problem would we expect to solve?